The Asian continent offers unique opportunities for studying the Cretaceous greenhouse climate and ecosystems. A variety of environments resulted in diverse ecosystems on land and in the oceans. Cretaceous marine strata of the eastern Tethys (India and Tibet of China) and the western Pacific (Japan, South Korea, China and Russia) open an indispensable window for the study of the oceanic anoxic events, oceanic oxygen-rich events and rapid climate changes    . Cretaceous continental deposits in Asia     contain abundant terrestrial organisms that witness the ecosystem evolution and significant rapid climate changes    .
Various Cretaceous terrestrial lithologic records and large igneous provinces in Asia bear witness to the environmental changes and ecosystem evolution   . Cretaceous pedogenic carbonates of paleosols and fossil leaf stomatal index quantitatively depicted the fluctuation and evolutionary trends of the atmospheric CO2 levels  . Desert deposits in the interior regions of the continent (Mongolia, China, and Thailand) reveal the shift of subtropical high-pressure belt and dramatic changes in climatic zonation pattern in Asia  .
In this special issue, there are 50 short research papers covering a broad spectrum of fields reflecting many facets of biodiversity, palaeoenvironment, palaeogeography and palaeoclimate from the marine and non-marine Cretaceous sequences in Asia. The special issue is divided into four sections: 1) new research results on fossil records in the marine Cretaceous deposits in Asia provide important taphonomic  , palaeogeographic and palaeoecological information which are useful for inter-continental, marine and non-marine biostratigraphic correlation   , and palaeoceanographic and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction; 2) new research results on Cretaceous non-marine fossil records provide the information of the palaeogeography, palaeoecology and palaeoclimate on land in Asia and South America, including a discussion on the origin of angiosperm  , the turnover of fossil flora and faunas, and the description of new dinosaur taxa; 3) the overview of progress in the Cretaceous stratigraphy in China, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Far East of Russia, Thailand and Vietnam, especially including a discussion on the new stratigraphic framework in Shandong province  , and the new progress on the Jurassic/Cretaceous and Cretaceous/Paleogene boundaries in China; 4) Cretaceous palaeoclimate reconstruction based on evidence from fossil records, special lithology and palaeo-weathering index. The Late Cretaceous floral turn-over in the Indian subcontinent indicates a latitudinal shifting of the Indian plate from sub-tropical to tropical zone during the Maastrichtian  . A palaeoweathering analysis of claystone samples intercalated within the mid-Cretaceous aeolian sandstone indicates that an alternate pluvious/arid paleoclimate controls the Sichuan basin during the mid-Cretaceous  . Aeolian deposits documented in the Santai Formation in the Mengyin Basin may indicate a change in palaeowind regime during the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous time interval  . The four sections of the special issue are topically overlapping and closely linked. They demonstrate a new exciting start of the UNESCO-IUGS IGCP Project 679.
We are sincerely grateful for the critical reviews of all referees who helped to improve the manuscripts included in the present volume. The study was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB26000000) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41572006, 41688103, 41972007). This is a contribution to UNESCO-IUGS IGCP Project 679.
Cite this paper
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